Posts by: "Maxine Troxell"

Deb Spalding

The Roddy Road Covered Bridge is a coveted link to our local history in Northern Frederick County. It is one of three historic covered bridges in the area, along with Loy’s Station and Utica bridges. The forty-foot-long single-lane structure was originally built in the mid-1800s.

Last June, it was struck and partially carried away by a box truck. The resulting damage made the bridge unsafe, so it had to be closed. Repairs to the bridge began in October and were completed by Dean Fitzgerald’s Heavy Timber Construction, Inc., in cooperation with the Frederick County Department of Public Works and Frederick County Department of Parks and Recreation.

While the bridge was closed, Frederick County took the opportunity to re-route Roddy Creek Road away from Roddy Creek in order to open space for a new park that includes a playground, walking trail, bathroom, parking area, and a (future) bridge-like pavilion. They also took action to prevent future damage to the bridge by installing a passive over-height warning system that a too-large-to-pass-through-the-bridge vehicle will hit before getting to the bridge.

Several Frederick County officials and staff came out to celebrate the reopening of the bridge and park on Monday, April 17, 2017. Frederick County Public Works Director Chuck Nipe welcomed guests. He extended sincere appreciation to the residents who attended public meetings and provided recommendations about how to avoid future bridge damage incidents. He also thanked several entities, including Jeff Yokum, the bridge neighbor who provided land for the turnaround at the bridge; Fitzgerald Heavy Timber Construction, Inc. employees who rebuilt the bridge; HMF Paving employees who were instrumental in the apprehension of the individual who damaged the bridge; Frederick County Highway Bridge Construction Crew, District 1 Crew, and the sign crew who fabricated and installed the signage and protective devices; Frederick County maintenance personnel who completed the electrical work; and the Transportation Engineering staff who coordinated the project and the reconstruction efforts.

Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner said, “In Frederick County, we are passionate about our historic covered bridges.” She talked about the historic significance of the bridge, and thanked all parties involved in its reconstruction and the formation of the surrounding park.

Other speakers included Frederick County Council President Bud Otis, Frederick County Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Mary Ann Brodie-Ennis, Frederick County Parks and Recreation Director Jeremy Kortright, Frederick County Parks and Recreation Commission members, Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird, and several other guests and staff.

Dean Fitzgerald, president of Fitzgerald’s Heavy Timber Construction, Inc., the contractors for the project, shared his memories of playing in the creek and on the bridge as a youngster. He said that at a young age he never imagined he would have a part in its reconstruction. He reminded us that we must continue to be vigilant about our covered bridges and our community. “These are blessings we don’t even realize we have.”

Dean remembered Shaeffer Bailey. Bailey was the bridge neighbor who lived in the brick house nearby, and the man who gave the land to Frederick County for Roddy Road Park. He was vigilant in protecting the bridge, taking Dean to task [and surely others] when he was caught throwing mudballs at the bridge. Bailey rallied the community to put the bridge back together in 1992, after it received damage. At the time, it took two days work for community volunteers to repair the bridge.

Dean announced that his company is partnering with Frederick County Parks and Recreation to construct a pavilion. “We want it to be similar to the covered bridge and potentially use some of the timber that was salvaged from the original bridge. The community is invited.”

Jeremy Kortright coordinated the cutting of the ceremonial ribbon. “This is an exciting day for the community,” he expressed, and thanked the parties involved in the restoration of the bridge.

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird, reminded us that the bridge opening is eight feet, six inches tall and not every vehicle is going to fit through that opening.

Once the ribbon was cut for the bridge’s official opening, the first to pass through it were people on foot, followed by bicyclists. The first vehicle through was a Chrysler minivan driven by Thurmont resident, Joe Eyler.

Dean Fitzgerald, president of Fitzgerald Heavy Timber Construction, Inc., the contractor for the bridge repair project, is shown as the sun shines on the beautifully completed bridge.

Honored guests and elected officials cut the ribbon to open the reconstructed Roddy Road Historic Covered Bridge.

James Rada, Jr.
November 29, 2004, was Army Specialist Erik Hayes last day alive. He didn’t know it. The decorated soldier had just turned twenty-four a couple of weeks earlier, and was a young man with dreams. He wanted to attend college and become a veterinarian; but most of all, he wanted to return home to his family.

As he sat on the roof of an Iraqi police station with Sgt. Daniel Hopson, watching the streets, Hopson posed a question. If Erik could go anywhere for a vacation, and money was no object, where would he go?

Hayes turned to his friend and said, “All I want to do is go home and work three jobs and get my brother home healthcare and get him taken care of.”

Bradley Hayes had been injured in a car accident two years earlier when he was only eighteen, and was being cared for in a Hagerstown facility.

Hopson, who has six sisters, was moved by how much Hayes loved his brother. “I need a brother like you,” he told Hayes.

Hayes looked at him with a bit of surprise and confusion in his expression. “Hopson, we are brothers, brothers in arms.”

Later that night, Hopson was with Hayes on the mortar tank that hit an improvised explosive device. Hayes died far from his home and became the sixth Marylander to die in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On Saturday, April 15, 2017, Hopson, Hayes’ family, friends, politicians, and Veterans gathered near the Monocacy River to celebrate Hayes’ life, remember his service, and honor his sacrifice.

More than one hundred people were at the State Highway Administration building, where Maryland 140 crosses the Monocacy, to take part in the dedication of the bridge sign for the nearby bridge in honor of Hayes. The sign that would be installed at the beginning of the bridge was unveiled, and Hayes’ parents were given miniature versions that they could keep with them.

Maryland State Delegate William Folden, who is also a Veteran, said getting the bill passed that allowed the bridge to be named in Hayes’ honor was the first bill he had ever introduced in the legislature. More than a “feel good” bill, he expressed that acts such as this mean something to servicemen and their families. He said the idea for the bill had been inspired by a trip that he and his son had taken to West Virginia, where many bridges and other structures have been named in honor of fallen West Virginians. His son had asked about the people named, which had led to him looking up information about the serviceman.

“I hope that every time someone crosses that bridge, they will keep in mind the sacrifice he [Hayes] made, and other young men and women are making for the freedom we have,” said Frederick County Commission President Bud Otis.

To date, 145 Marylanders have been killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Frederick County Councilman Kirby Delauter was the emcee at the event. Also in attendance were Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner; Carroll County Commissioners Stephen Wantz, Richard Weaver, and Dennis Frazier; Taneytown Mayor James McCarron; and members of the local VFWs and American Legions. Patriot Guard Riders and Desert Knights also escorted a procession of cars to the ceremony.

Hayes was born in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, but he grew up in Thurmont and Harney. He graduated in 1998 from the Living Word Academy in Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania. Before he had joined the military, he had worked at a dairy farm and trained to be an electrician.

He had enlisted in the army in 2001 to be able to use the GI Bill to get a college education when his duty was complete. He had trained at Fort Benning in Georgia, and served in Germany, Bosnia, and Kosovo before being trained in Iraq.

Hayes’ father, Daniel, said of his son, “He was a good boy. He loved people. He loved animals.”

Hayes was also an artist, drawing whenever inspiration hit him. His father remembers a drawing on the cover of one his son’s army notebooks that showed a camel smoking a cigarette out in the dessert.

His fellow soldiers also remember him with love and respect.

SSgt. Erik Pisauro of Charlotte, North Carolina, first met Hayes when he was eighteen and said that Hayes watched out for him and kept him from getting in too much trouble. “He was a big brother to a lot of us younger guys,” Pisauro said.

Sgt. Tim Grossman of Lexington, Kentucky, said, “Even though I outranked him, I learned to listen to what he said. He had a lot of wisdom for someone his age. When he spoke, you had to respect his answers; he wasn’t rash in his thinking.”

Grossman and others also noted that Hayes was generous to a fault. “He would give you the last five dollars he had until the next pay,” Grossman said.

SSgt. Andre Topaum of Raleigh, North Carolina, first met Hayes when he was eighteen. One memory that continued to shape his career in the military was something that Hayes said to him early on. “Dang it, Topaum, pay attention and take notes.” Topaum said it is something that he still continues to try and do.

Hopson, who is from Oklahoma, arrived in Iraq as a sergeant and didn’t have experience on mortar tanks where he was assigned. One of the first things Hayes said to him was, “I won’t ever let you get embarrassed, Sergeant; if you don’t know the answer to something, I’ll tell you.”

Hayes has touched the lives of these men so deeply that they were willing to travel hundreds of miles sixteen years after his death just to pay him one final honor.

“Just remember Erik’s name, and he will become a legend forever,” Hopson said.

(above) Army Spec. Erik Hayes’ parents, Debora Reckley and Douglas Hayes, stand next to the bridge sign for the MD 140 bridge over the Monocacy River that was named in honor of their son.

(below) The VFW Color Guard prepares to retire the colors during the April 15 ceremony that dedicated the MD 140 Monocacy River Bridge in honor of fallen Spec. Erik Hayes.

Just after his first birthday, six-year-old Ben Myers (pictured right) began having hundreds of seizures a day, for over a year, and was diagnosed with a catastrophic form of epilepsy caused by a rare mutation of the SCN2A gene. There is currently no cure for SC2NA. Due to the seizures, Ben can no longer talk, but he can give the best hugs! Please come out and support this sweet little boy and his family and help fight for a cure for SCN2A. All proceeds from the tournament go to Ben and his family to cover therapy, equipment, and other medical expenses not covered by insurance.

Bags for Ben’s Bunch Cornhole Tournament will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 3, 2017, at 13702 Graceham Road in Thurmont. The cost is $40.00 per team. The tournament will feature food, raffles, and prizes. To reserve your team’s spot today, call or text Renee Lawyer at 301-639-4585.

View the advertisement on page 33 for more information.

On Friday evening, May 26, 2017, the Myersville-Wolfsville Area Historical Society will sponsor a free PowerPoint presentation, exploring the rich history of the presidential retreat at Camp David.

The program is open to the public and will be followed by a social hour with refreshments. There is no charge.

Since 1942, the Catoctin Mountains have provided presidents of the United States with a respite from the pressures and stresses of Washington, D.C.

Camp David—formerly Shangri-La—has evolved from a highly secret, rustic facility to a resort-like mountain retreat, easily reached from the nation’s capital.

Established during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the “camp” was originally reached via a two-hour drive from Washington, through Frederick and Thurmont. Today, it is minutes away from the White House via helicopter.

This presentation will trace the fascinating 75-year history of Camp David, detailing the day-to-day activities of its occupants and the momentous decisions and events that have taken place there. In addition to anecdotes about the chief executives and their families, highlights include FDR’s wartime deliberations with Winston Churchill, Eisenhower’s talks with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, Nixon’s intense days at Camp David during the Watergate crisis, and Carter’s successful efforts to piece together the Camp David Accords with Anwar Sadat and Menachim Begin.

The presentation will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Myersville Fire Hall, located at 301 Main Street in Myersville.

 

Thurmont

Mayor John Kinnaird

The Town of Thurmont celebrated Arbor Day on April 22 by planting more trees in the Community Park.  This planting was undertaken by the Thurmont Green Team, as part of their ongoing efforts to ensure a clean environment for our current and future residents. The damages inflicted on our Ash trees by the emerald borer resulted in many of the mature trees having to be removed from the Community Park. The planting of new trees will, over time, replace the cooling canopy we enjoy in the park. The Green Team also sponsored a Hunting Creek Clean Up Day and managed to remove 690 pounds of trash from the steam and its banks. The Green Team also wants to remind everyone that garden spots are still available in the Community Garden. Many thanks to Thurmont’s Green Team for their hard work!

The Board of Commissioner (BOC) recently approved a bid for street improvements within town. The work includes blacktop overlays of East Street, Lombard Street, and Shipley Avenue. This work will be completed during the summer months; please be aware of these projects and, as with all of our street repairs, please be careful when driving through the construction areas.

The BOC is currently working on the 2017-2018 Budget. I am hopeful that we will use the Constant Yield Tax Rate for the upcoming year.  This means that we will be collecting the same amount of taxes as during the 2016-2017 fiscal year. With recent increases in property values, everyone should realize a very small decrease in property taxes. We hope to adopt the final budget in May.

In recent weeks, you may have noticed underground work being completed at the intersection of Rouzer Lane and Rt. 550. This work is part of the ongoing effort to ensure dependable electric service for Catoctin High School and the Catoctin Heights subdivision.  Currently, Catoctin Heights is at the end of a service line that starts on the Emmitsburg Road and crosses Rt. 15. The improvements will include new underground service lines, as well as a new loop connected to Sandy Spring Lane, to provide a backup circuit should there be a problem with the current feed line.

I was recently appointed to serve on the Frederick County Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC). SWAC is charged with reviewing the County Solid Waste Plan, and we have been following closely the What’s Next initiative, established by County Executive Gardner to investigate improved recycling options for our residents. The State of Maryland has mandated a recycling level of 90 percent for organic waste, including food waste and grass clippings, by the year 2040. This goal will require a massive undertaking within Frederick County to start a program of collection and composting to realize these levels of recycling. The current recommended plan calls for as many as 10-14 small composting facilities across the County and new methods of collection. Ultimately, all residences, businesses, schools, and other facilities will be included in this plan. I encourage all of our residents to pay attention as this plan moves forward and to get involved! For more information about What’s Next, visit www.frederickcountymd.gov/whatsnext.

Please take the time to enjoy the newly rebuilt Roddy Road Covered Bridge, as well as the improvements to Roddy Road Park and Loy’s Station Park!

I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com.

Emmitsburg

 Mayor Don Briggs

In April, I was given the opportunity to speak at three events.

On April 8, at the Doughboy statue, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the town commemorated the 100-year anniversary of the United States declaring war on Germany and entering World War I. Commissioner Blanchard and I spoke. Thank you, Commissioner Blanchard, for putting this event together.

In addition to a quote of General Douglas MacArthur, I referenced, in a humble tribute to the soldiers who fought in WWI: “There, for those soldiers, in the prime of their lives, it was a hope for a tomorrow and a prayer for their – now. For us, because of them and what they did and gave, we have a tomorrow of tomorrows and prayers for our now and those nows to come.”

Also on April 8, I joined the  more than two hundred people who attended the dedication of the sprinkler system at the Frederick County Fire/Rescue Museum National Fire Heritage Center on South Seton Avenue, sharing in awe of the live-burn demo, which used a “Side-by-Side Burn Trailer.”

“Welcome. They say every story has a protagonist, a leading character. The good person, the good people. In our town, there are many protagonists for the many stories that form our community story. And what a story it is, with a rich history that includes both an emphasis on education and spiritualty… Today, we gather for one such story to recognize the collaborative efforts of suppliers, installers, fire service personnel, and all levels of government, to bring about the installation of the sprinkler system in the Fire Museum and National Fire Heritage Center…But underlying this effort has been the quiet efforts of a group of amazing people, lifelong fireman, rooted here in Frederick County and from all over the country… To these founders, it is an honor and pleasure to know and work with you,” I said during my remarks.

On April 10, Libby and I dined with Korey Shorb and Conrad Weaver. Korey is doing great things for the county to educate and understand addiction through his “Up & Out” Foundation. Our Emmy-Award-winner Conrad is producing a documentary on drug addiction, with a focus on Frederick County. More to come on the town’s collaboration with these gentlemen.

On April 12, Libby and I, along with Commissioner Buckman, attended the presentation on addiction at Catoctin High School, sponsored principally by the Schildt family: “CHRIS for Family Support in Recovery.” It was a moving program that touched all the sensibilities of those in attendance, in the nearly packed-full auditorium. I am blessed to have coached young men, in either football or rugby, over a span of five decades, during which I attended funerals for five of my players. Recently, I have been blessed to be mayor of Emmitsburg for the past five years, and during this time, I have already attended five funerals for drug-related deaths.

It is written, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Our treasure is our families. In the face of this insidious onslaught, put away petty distractions, and, yes, everything is petty when it comes to our families, as well as our friends and community.

They say that our grandparents—and for some, great-grandparents—were the greatest generation in what they did during WWI. We need another greatest generation in this fight for our children. We can be the next greatest generation—we have to be the next greatest generation.

I am so blessed to live in Northern Frederick County.

Wild Song Farm operates on a historic property known as Father’s Farewell on Moser Road in Thurmont. In 1738, the farm was part of the 500-acre Taylor’s Lot, owned by Johann Jacob Weller. Fifty acres were later passed to his stepson, John Henry Firor, who is believed to have built the beautiful stone home on the property, from 1765 to 1780. The property earned its name, Father’s Farewell, when son John Leonard Firor inherited it from his father, who moved west. The farm stayed in the Firor family until about 1872.

Since then, the farm has seen a dairy operation, beef cattle, sawmill and woodshop, horses, and even a goldfish-growing operation. Since 2015, when Thomas and Nicole Luttrell purchased the property, they have been preparing a farm business called Wild Song Farm. The name is appropriate because of the music of nature heard every day on the farm—song birds, frogs, and crickets. After big storms, you can hear Big Hunting Creek roar. Lately, the sound of clucking chickens and quacking ducks can also be heard.

Thomas grew up in Frederick and Nicole grew up in the Poconos, Pennsylvania. They met while attending Washington College on the Eastern Shore. Thomas studied economics, and Nicole studied biology and chemistry. While in school, they became interested in growing food and learning how to be self-sufficient. They both worked for a successful small produce farm called Colchester Farm, where they were part of the strong local food movement in Chestertown, Maryland.

After graduating, the couple moved to Frederick. Thomas worked for Hometown Harvest, a home delivery service for local food, while Nicole worked for the Frederick County Office of Sustainability, helping homeowners get energy-efficiency upgrades. She then worked with Ecologia Design, installing edible landscapes. Nicole still offers design and consultation services for edible and natural landscapes and homesteads through her business Deeply Rooted Design (www.deeplyrooteddesign.us).

On the farm, Thomas tends to take charge of the machines and animals, and Nicole tends to take charge of the produce and business management. They come together for many projects and to develop plans for the future. There are many reasons why the Luttrells decided to start a farm. The main reason was for their own health. They wanted to be in control of the food they eat. They also wanted to become more self-sufficient.

Nicole said, “It seems that so many skills are being lost. Farming has pushed us to learn about a very wide range of subjects. Not just plants and animals, but machines, electrical, plumbing, carpentry, and business management. We’re very excited about the possibilities of agriculture and all of the opportunities for innovation.”

While their current focus is on short-term crops like eggs and produce, they are also working on establishing some long-term crops like shiitake mushrooms grown on logs, unique and disease-resistant fruits such as paw paws, and even nut crops such as hazelnuts and Chinese chestnuts.

Another aspect of the farm that is very important to the Luttrells is connecting with the local community. There is something very special about knowing where our food comes from, and knowing the farmer who grows it. Thomas said, “We love this property because it is tucked right into Thurmont, a short walk to the library and to the trolley trail that leads to Main Street. We are surrounded by neighborhoods, including Jermae Estates just up Moser Road. There are many farmers that understandably drive to the D.C. area to sell produce, where there are more people and higher prices. But for us, we really want to feed the local people and do our part to help Thurmont’s local economy grow. And what better place to do it than a farm so close to town?”

The Luttrells have a flock of about 130 chickens living out of a big coop on a hay wagon that is moved around on pasture and through their gardens to do soil prepping. They make their own soy-free, non-GMO feed with local grain to ensure quality and freshness. They have a small flock of ducks that free range in their yard. They are currently selling eggs from the farm, and the eggs are also sold at The Lion Potter Market in Gettysburg.

They grow produce using organic practices, building rich and healthy soil. It’s important to the Luttrells that their soil is rich in nutrients and minerals, which then are passed into the food that customers eat. This year, they will grow a variety of greens, carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, summer squash, melons, garlic, winter squash, and shiitake mushrooms.

If you want to see a show, stop by and watch them cut and bale fifty-pound round bales of hay with a walk-behind two-wheel tractor, hay rake, and baler. They use that hay for chicken bedding and composting, and plan to start selling it this year.

Their farm stand will open soon, starting Saturday, May 13, at 13720 Moser Road. Expect Saturday and Sunday hours at the start of the season, with some weekday hours added as they move into summer. Eggs, produce, baked goods, and plants are available for sale. They are looking into offering some specialty items for sale from other local farms as well. Stop by their stand on Saturday, May 27, during Thurmont’s Sip N’ Stroll event for a special “buy two dozen, get one free” on eggs. Customers can also enter their names in a drawing for a $20.00 gift certificate.

Customers can call or text an order to 240-405-7622, email wildsongfarm1780@gmail.com, or just stop by the farm.

For more information, visit www.wildsongfarm.com or check them out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wildsongfarmthurmont.

James Rada, Jr.

For entertainment, Emmitsburg resident Rick Oleszczuk, along with his wife, Erin, and children, were once trapped in an underground playground in Nashville. They barely escaped, and decided that they had so much fun that they wanted to trap other people. That’s why they opened Escape Gettysburg.

“We didn’t want to do it at first, but then we talked about it for days afterwards,” Rick said of his family’s experience in the Nashville escape room.

Back in Emmitsburg, he and his wife started talking about opening one. They decided on Gettysburg because of its nearness to their home, its large number of tourists, and its limited indoor entertainment offerings.

They rented the old Department of Motor Vehicles space at 59 N. Fifth Street in Gettysburg, and opened with two escape rooms in March. By summer, they should have four rooms open.

For those unfamiliar with escape rooms, a group of people are locked in a room that has been designed around a theme. The group that I was part of was locked in a room called the Mad Hatter’s Tea Parlor. It was a Victorian room with a fireplace, furniture, unusual pictures, and odd clocks. We had one hour to find and decipher clues and to work our way through a series of surprises, in a race against time. The pressure to find a way to unlock the door builds as the time we had to free ourselves vanished.

However, my group also laughed, got frustrated, and cheered when we solved a tough clue. When the locked door finally popped open, with less than ten minutes to spare, everyone felt a great sense of success and accomplishment.

The other rooms include: the wizard’s chamber, where you must unravel the clues to escape the room before the head wizard returns; and museum heist, where the group is attempting to steal the Gettysburg Address from a museum before the police arrive. You are given an hour to escape the room, and not every team is successful.

“Our rooms tend to be more challenging than some of the escape rooms that are part of a chain,” Rick said.

The rooms are designed to hold eight to ten people, although larger groups can be accommodated. Participants should be at least thirteen years old to be able to fully participate in the adventure.

“We’ve already had some return customers. We had one group come in for a birthday party, and they had so much fun, they came back the next weekend to do the other room!”

Escape Rooms are great family activities, but businesses also use them as a team-building exercise.

Escape Gettysburg is a family-run business. Even the Oleszczuk children—Noah, Ella, and Eva—participate in the business. They either act as greeters or game masters. Game masters monitor the progress of the trapped people, and may give them hints from time to time about how to escape.

If you would like more information and/or you would like to schedule your ‘escape’ at Escape Gettysburg, visit the website at www.escapegettysburg.com or call 717-769-5397.

Theresa Dardanell

A solemn, respectful crowd gathered in Emmitsburg on Saturday, April 8, 2017, for the ceremony to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entrance into World War I on April 6, 1917.

The event, sponsored by the Town of Emmitsburg, along with the Francis X Elder Post 121 American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6658, was held in front of the Doughboy statue in town. The ceremony began with the Pledge of Allegiance, an opening prayer by Father John Holliday, and a welcome by Emmitsburg Mayor Donald Briggs. Commissioner Glenn Blanchard gave a brief history of the war and added a personal story about his own grandfather, who served in the war. The ceremony continued with the American Legion and VFW Color Guard and the laying of the wreath by the commanders of the Post.

The Doughboy statue was erected in 1927. Doughboy is the name of a World War I foot soldier. On the pedestal are the words, “This memorial erected and dedicated in honor of those from Emmitsburg district who served in the world war.” It includes the names of those who made the supreme sacrifice.

The mountain bike trails above Emmitsburg, around Rainbow Lake, are in need of upkeep. Volunteers are invited to Trail Work Days on May 21, June 17, and August 5, during which trail work takes place from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Free coffee, juice, bagels, fruit, and donuts are provided before the work begins, and a free barbeque in town is provided afterwards. You may win a free prize.

Please direct any questions to Tim O’Donnell at todonnell@emmitsburgmd.gov or visit www.MORE-MTB.org for information about the trails.

Theresa Dardanell

A large crowd gathered in Emmitsburg on April 8, 2017, to watch as two identical rooms, set up in a special apparatus in the parking lot of the Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum/National Fire Heritage Center (NFHC), were set on fire. The room with the fire sprinkler protection sustained some damage, but the room without this protection was completely destroyed. First responders from the Vigilant Hose Company and the Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company participated in support of the demonstration, which was coordinated with the governments of the Town of Emmitsburg and Frederick County.

This event followed the dedication ceremony for the newly installed automatic fire sprinkler system in the Museum/NFHC.  The sprinkler system was paid for by donations from the National Fire Sprinkler Association and the Capital Region Fire Sprinkler Association, and was installed by Livingston Fire Protection of Hyattsville, Maryland, and Reliance Fire Protection of Baltimore. It will not only protect the irreplaceable contents of the Fire Museum and Heritage Center, it will be also used for sprinkler system training for members of fire departments.

In attendance were members of Frederick County fire departments, Frederick County officials, and representatives from the sprinkler system industry. Chief Ronny Coleman, NFHC president, began the program with the Pledge of Allegiance and introduction of guests; Museum President Chief James Deater welcomed everyone involved. Speakers included Emmitsburg Mayor Donald Briggs, Frederick County Council Member Kirby Delauter, and Maryland State Fire Marshall Brian Geraci.

The Frederick County Fire and Rescue Museum contains many interesting items, including pictures, artifacts, and histories from all twenty-six fire companies in Frederick County, as well as an 1821 “Old Lady” Hand Tub Pumper.

The National Fire Heritage Center, located in the same building, is dedicated to preserving America’s Fire History. Among the many documents is the September 11 incident report from Shanksville, Pennsylvania. All of these valuable documents and artifacts are now protected from fire by the newly installed sprinkler system.

Crowds gather to watch the side-by-side burn live demonstration in Emmitsburg (above), witnessing first-hand how a room without the fire sprinkler protection is completely consumed (below).

James Rada, Jr.

Energy costs for the Town of Emmitsburg will be lower at the end of FY2017 than they were six years earlier, and that is with the addition of the new, larger wastewater treatment plant that came online last year.

Emmitsburg Town Staff gave a presentation to the Board of Commissioners last month, outlining the town’s efforts to reduce its conventional energy costs by 20 percent by 2022. The town has instituted a number of changes since 2011 to achieve this including: (1) Using LED light bulbs in Emmitsburg street lights; (2) Installing the PowerStar system to reduce wasted electrical power; (3) Leasing solar power.

By installing energy-efficient LED bulbs in the street lights, the electricity costs for town street lights was reduced by 40 percent. “And the LED bulbs cut the town’s overall electrical use by 9 percent,” Town Manager Cathy Willets told the commissioners.

The Powerstar Voltage Optimization System, which was installed at the sewer pumping station on Creamery Road last year, optimizes the power that station draws. It also rejects excess power, which means that the town doesn’t have to pay for it. The system cost the town $17,587, and it is currently saving the town around $2,059 a year in electricity costs.

The use of solar power is the element of energy reduction that has become a point of contention on the board, with Commissioner Joe Ritz, III, questioning the accuracy of town’s staff’s presentation.

“Everything we’ve seen tonight looks like we’re saving money, but are we really saving money?” Ritz asked.

His concerns were based on a media report, predicting that the town could lose $1 million over the life of the twenty-year contract. The report apparently focuses on the narrow element that the town has leased more power than it currently needs, and while it can sell back excess solar power to First Energy, it does not receive as much as it cost to produce that excess power.

The town’s intention is not to have excess power to need to sell back, though. Cole Tabler, the town’s accountant, said more than once during the presentation that the excess solar power would disappear as the wastewater treatment plant was utilized more and when the Emmitsburg Ambulance Company comes onto the system.
“When we get to a point that we don’t generate excess, that’s when the savings really come in,” said Willets.

A portion of the excess was planned for. The new wastewater treatment plant did not come into service operating at its peak capacity. It currently operates at 65 percent capacity. However, when planning for how much solar energy needed to be leased, an amount was chosen to run the plant at full capacity. Another portion of the excess was planned for the Emmitsburg Ambulance Company, but it was not able to come onto the system when originally planned. The circumstances that caused the delay have changed now, and it should be eligible to come on the system by the end of the year.

Other savings have also been seen as a result of the solar energy use that isn’t seen in the solar energy numbers. For instance, the use of solar energy has severely reduced the cost of the energy being bought from Potomac Edison, including fees such as the distribution charge, which has been reduced about 90 percent each month.

Overall, the use of solar energy has saved the town money. According to figures from the town office, total energy costs for the town government for FY2017 is projected to be $167,000. This includes the cost of running the new larger wastewater treatment plant. This is lower than the town’s energy costs in FY2011 of $175,400 with a smaller treatment plant.

The difference in opinion of board members of the value of solar energy seems to be one of focus. The single item of the cost of unused solar energy is a loss, while the overall energy costs show a gain.

Chart shows Emmitsburg’s energy costs between FY2010 and FY2017. Column A is the amount paid to Potomac Edison, Column B is the amount paid to UGI for solar power, and Column C is the rebate amount for unused solar power. In FY2015 and FY2016, the new wastewater treatment plant was being tested and brought online. This accounts for the increase in total energy costs those years. Now that the plant is functioning, the power consumption is at its normal level, and the projected total energy cost for FY2017 is expected to be around $167,000.

Jayden Myers’ journey of pain began the day before a family vacation in August of 2012, when a rash broke out all over her body, along with pain in her right leg, foot, and ankle. A first diagnosis, and several thereafter, was hives due to a food allergy. After additional diagnoses and follow-up visits to the pediatrician’s office, she was referred to a pediatric rheumatologist at Hershey Medical Center in Pennsylvania.

In October of 2012, she was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, enthesitis-related. With treatment, most of the joint pain she was having was eased; unfortunately, the extreme pain continued in the right foot, ankle, and leg.

Finally, Jayden was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Amplified Muscular Pain Syndrome (AMPS) and evaluated by Dr. Sherry, a specialist in Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome. His final diagnosis was two forms of AMPS: Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Diffuse Amplified Pain Syndrome.

When experiencing AMPS, there is an abnormal short circuit in the spinal cord. The normal pain signal not only travels up to the brain, but also goes to the neurovascular nerves that control blood flow through the vessels. These nerves cause the blood vessels to constrict. This constriction restricts blood flow and oxygen to muscles and bone and leads to an increase in waste products such as lactic acid. It is the lack of oxygen and acid build-up that causes the pain. The new pain signal also goes across the abnormal short circuit and causes decreased blood flow, leading to more pain. The pain becomes extremely severe through this cycle.

Jayden participates in a multi-disciplinary pain management program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She attends school when she is able and continues with Home Intermittent School Teaching. Jayden is part of the Thurmont Kountry Kitchen Restaurant Family. Her parents, Rob and Sherry Myers, travel to Hershey Medical Center two times weekly for Jayden to receive the intense physical therapy she needs.

To help support the Myers in handling the unending medical bills that result from Jayden’s treatments, the Patty Pollatos Fund has been a blessing, hosting fundraisers in Jayden’s benefit.

A Wing Feed will be held on May 20, 2017, at the Emmitsburg Firehall. Please reference the calendar for more information about this fundraising event. You may purchase tickets, a Jayden’s Journey t-shirt, or submit a donation at the Thurmont Kountry Kitchen Restaurant in Thurmont. You can also go online to www.ppfinc.org and click on Jayden Myers’ photo to donate.

Pictured during an April 15 bake sale and shirt sale (left to right), Owen Ott, Easter Bunny, Madison Ott, Jayden Myers, and Kendall Stuart

Grace Eyler

Dreary weather didn’t deter Thurmont’s Business Showcase from a delightful turnout on Saturday, April 22, 2017, at the new Thurmont Ambulance Company Event Complex. The building’s bright chandeliers lit the large event area with plenty of seating for families to comfortably enjoy a fresh meal, which was provided by the ambulance company.

“I’ve been here for one hour, and I’m very pleased,” said Heather Heier, owner of Harmony Healing. Heather provides her Reiki services from her office in the Center of Life Holistic Center on Park Lane in Thurmont. Thurmont’s favorite Chiropractor, Dr. John Hagemann, is the proprietor of the space, and his wife, Márcia, teaches pilates there as well.

“There were people already here, so that’s a good sign!” said enthused owner, Champ, from Complete Auto Diagnostics on Roddy Road. Champ and his staff members were surprised to see people waiting at the door for the event to begin.

Carol Robertson, long-time volunteer with the Showcase, was also impressed with the turnout. “I’ll tell you what has been really nice: I’ve seen so many people that I know. Sometimes you don’t see them for months and now, today, I see them!”

At noon, spectators gathered to watch the ladies from Anytime Fitness demonstrate the popular “Zumba Workout.” Anytime Fitness’ Bette Troxell sat back and cheered them on. She exclaimed,” They rocked it, they got compliments, it was good.”

Following the high energy demo, “Out of the Blue” provided live entertainment. Local entertainer, Harold Staley, followed their act. He has performed at previous Showcases.

John Nickerson, a.k.a. Gnarly Artly, stood near the stage at his booth, enjoying the band. “This is great; I hope everybody comes back next year.”

Some businesses provided a taste of the everyday products that consumers will find in their shops. Some of the most creative booths included J. Rothrock Outfitters, a family owned business on East Main Street in Thurmont. They displayed a tent and other unique decorative pieces that would pique the interest of outdoor enthusiasts. “I love the live band; the facility is fantastic,” said proprietor, Hillary Rothrock. This being her second time at the showcase, she already looks forward to next year.

Eyler’s Flea Market also displayed a unique set-up, with a montage of items from their flea market vendors’ booths.

For some business owners, it was their first time at the Showcase. Jason Thakkar, the new owner of Super 8 Motel in Thurmont made it a point to greet other business owners and welcome the community to visit the motel, which is also now under new management.

The Irons family, from Old Mink Farm Resort, offered a hand-painted cabin scene for visitors to take a fun photo “in the woods,” while advertising some of their beautiful mountain get-aways for rent. The Irons even noticed that some of the people dropping by for information weren’t from the Thurmont area, a sign that the showcase had a bigger draw than expected.

Local non-profit groups like the Lions Club, Civitan, and Girl Scouts were also present at the Showcase. Two of the Girl Scouts were dressed as “Thin Mint” cookies. The costumes reminded many that it was time to show their support and purchase some of their favorite sweet treats. When asked if she was having fun, Miss Harrison, eight years old, exclaimed, “YES! It’s sooo fun!”

The ladies of the Thurmont Lion Club sold tickets for upcoming raffles and commemorative Thurmont memorabilia. The Civitan Club proudly displayed projects and fundraisers they’ve been promoting during the past year. Frederick County Executive Jan Gardener dropped by their booth to thank them for their service to the community.

Cunningham Falls State Park Ranger Travis Watts brought his feathered friends from the aviary to advocate upcoming events at the park. Parents and kids stood aside while Ranger Travis handled a screech owl.

In the next booth, Cindy Poole was busy promoting both The Catoctin Furnace Historical Society and Thurmont’s Green Team. While she was showing artifacts from Catoctin Furnace and promoting future events, she was also busy encouraging residents of the community to go green in Thurmont.

Lowman Keeney, president of the Thurmont Ambulance Company, worked behind the scenes to make sure everything was in order. His sister, LaRue, along with other volunteers, made sure no one went hungry during the event. Jim Wolfe and Tim Wiltrout manned the enormous grills in the kitchen, while others served up the meals and took orders. Many visitors were impressed with the size of the building and kitchen.

Vickie Grinder, Thurmont’s Economic Development director and Main Street coordinator, said there were forty-five vendors—seventeen more than the previous year. “We had a great crowd, with people of all ages. That’s what you want.”

Mayor Kinnaird was spotted making his rounds with his camera, capturing all aspects of the community-enriching event.

Overall, the 2017 Thurmont Business Showcase was very much anticipated by the community and a success for our local businesses and organizations. It’s safe to say that everyone looks forward to a prosperous year and to the next Showcase in 2018.

(left) Thurmont Commissioner Wes Hamrick chats with local Melaleuca representatives, Kellie Bevard and Carla Longenecker, during the Thurmont Business Showcase.

(below) Park Ranger Travis Watts, with “Scales and Tales” educates visitors on upcoming programs from Cunningham State Park, along with his side-kick, the screech owl.

James Rada, Jr.

Although the Emmitsburg Town staff comprehensive energy plan presentation in April focused primarily on financials, it also looked at how Emmitsburg was becoming a greener and more sustainable community.

Maryland currently has only thirty-five certified sustainable communities out of sixty-seven towns and cities that are working toward that goal. Emmitsburg has been certified a sustainable community in 2015.

A number of projects that the town sponsors haven both improved the quality of life in Emmitsburg and contributed toward the town achieving its certified sustainable status. These projects include: the community gardens; the Emmitsburg Farmers Market; the town’s multi-user trails; the sidewalk project that made it easier to walk from place to place throughout the town; the pet waste ordinance; the Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association; solar fields; LED street lights; and the new algae-control system in Rainbow Lake.

Also, as benefit to being a certified sustainable community, Emmitsburg gets priority when applying for state grants.

“We do get grant priority because we are certified, which opens the door to a lot of funding we would not get otherwise,” said Town Manager Cathy Willets.

This priority helped the town get $250,000 in Community Legacy Grants, which have helped improve business facades in town.

While the use of LED street lights save the town money, they also use 60 percent fewer kilowatt hours. The PowerStar System on the sewage treatment plants optimizes the power used at the plant so that less energy is used.

The new algae-control system not only saves the town 642,250 gallons of water a month, but it significantly reduces the amount of chemicals needed to treat that water. The installation of the system has freed up the equivalent of 85 water taps.

While the new wastewater treatment plant was a state-mandated project, it has allowed the town to reduce the levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in the water, which is good for the Chesapeake Bay.

The solar fields have allowed the town to avoid producing 5.7 million pounds of carbon dioxide since their installation.

Future green projects planned for the town include: the installation of two electric car charging stations in town; rain barrels and composting; a water conservation plan; watershed stewardship; and tree planting.